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Stuttering in games

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November 21, 2010 4:34:33 PM

I just RMA'd my second gtx 280 and got a gtx 470 back from EVGA. My first 280 suffered from artifacting and its replacement suffered from the "pink screen of death". Around when i started getting the PSOD on my second 280, i started noticing that some of my games would have weird stuttering problems. I thought this was just another problem caused by the card going bad ,but it seems that the stuttering is still persistent with my 470. Crysis has the most stuttering out of all my games, but STALKER and Penumbra: Black Plague also have this issue.

My framerate will be very good in every game. Crysis will usually have around 40 fps (very high, 4xAA, 720p). The problem seems to happen whenever I move or look around in the game. I can't even sprint in a straight line without having several split-second hitches in the framerate.

I don't remember having this issue until recently. Updating my drivers didn't seem to do anything. I tried bringing my CPU back down to stock speeds but that didn't help either. I'm still not sure what is causing the problem. Any help is greatly appreciated!


i7 920 @ 3.0ghz
GTX 470 EVGA
Corsair 4gb DDR3 RAM @ 570mhz 9-9-9-24
EVGA x58 SLI LE
Seagate 500gb HD
Corsair TX750w PSU

More about : stuttering games

November 22, 2010 10:26:18 AM

Any programs running in the background? Does the hard disk appear to be active?
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November 22, 2010 5:24:58 PM

I've tried closing out of all programs before I run anything. I even used game booster to turn off any background processes. No luck. :(  I'm going to try monitoring my hard drive while running some stuff tonight and see if anything is acting up.
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November 22, 2010 9:19:56 PM

Ram not set right. Or not volted right. Bad mother board slot ( PCI-E ). Power supply. Did you turn off AA and physx ? That game booster thing. I watched what it did when I turned it on. System took a hit believe it or not. Not on my machine any more.
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November 23, 2010 8:08:29 AM

Is it screen tearing? a card that powerful outputting to 720p will be delivering a shed load of frames!

try enabling Vsync and see what that does.
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December 4, 2010 9:03:39 PM

Thanks for the replies.
I run pretty much all of my games with vsync. The stuttering still occurs whether it is on or off.

My hard drive doesn't seem to be active whenever I'm ingame. My hard drive is getting more on the full side (about 180gb left out of 500gb). Could this have anything to do with it?

I don't believe my power supply is the issue. What are some ways I could make sure it isn't causing the problem?

The RAM being the problem sounds the most likely to me. Could I have the clocks/voltages set wrong?
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December 5, 2010 7:44:22 AM

Hard drive the issue no, unless if it's really fragmented.

Vsync causes a whole truck load of issues with a lot of games depending on the game if is D3D or OpenGL but you can play around with triple-buffering and your monitor's Hz frequency if your really into Vsync.

TIP: Remember Vsync is the synchronization of your video card and your monitor if both can't handle each others output, yeah you've guessed it problems from all sorts.

Hmmn . . . do you turn off your AV when your playing games, real-time protection is basically another hassle to gamers and stuttering is one of its perks among lag and the others.
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December 8, 2010 10:21:04 PM

I turned off my antivirus and started up Crysis. No luck :( 
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December 9, 2010 4:28:58 AM

Were your card drivers removed , registry cleaned, before a fresh install ?
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December 14, 2010 11:50:16 PM

Hmm I used driver sweeper to clean out my drivers and reinstalled them fresh. Crysis actually does seem a bit smoother, like it is actually playable now. The stuttering is still apparent however so I'm not sure if cleaning the drivers is what actually helped or if I did something else without realizing
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December 15, 2010 3:37:24 AM

Monitor your fps using fraps, its free, post fps from in game situations..
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December 15, 2010 6:38:44 PM

Ok I tried what you said in a few games. In crysis, the fps stays around 45 (60 in the not as graphically intense levels, 35 during lots of action). Whenever there is a split-second stutter, the fps counter drops anywhere from 5 to 15 fps then rapidly bumps back up to normal. So I might be running smooth at 60 fps, then there is a stutter and the fps is displayed as 45 for a second, then the counter jumps back to 60. The fps drop also depends on the length of the pause if that makes sense.
The same thing happened in Penumbra. I did notice that the short stuttering does occur in the same places everytime I play the same savegame (ex. when i turn around this corner, when i see this enemy etc.)
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December 15, 2010 6:50:08 PM

Yeah stutter is a direct relationship to fps, if fps drops, it stutters..
Well stuttering happens in many games..
Check in many games as you can,if it happens -
Some games, which are more power hungry will stutter more..
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December 16, 2010 4:55:51 PM

You have the hardware that should not let this happen. Something can't be right. Did you check your motherboard drivers ? What's your ram supposed to be running at ? ( sticker on side of ram ) Try enabling more virtual ram ( HD ).
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December 16, 2010 6:05:20 PM

Well get this. I just ran Crysis in 32 bit mode instead of 64 bit and guess what? Smooth as butter. This is only a fix for crysis though. The rest of the games I was having problems with still have problems.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but 64bit uses more RAM than 32bit correct? If this is the case then it seems that the RAM may very well be my issue.


I'll check all my mobo drivers as well since that may also be the prob.
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December 16, 2010 7:26:40 PM

1) What's your HD rpm and cache size?
2) Did you do memtest on your RAM?
3) Last time you defrag'd?
4) Last time you did a real deep look into spam/virus/malware on your PC? Using something like HijackThis or a rootkit detector....
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December 21, 2010 2:18:42 AM

My HD has an rpm of 7200 with a 16mb cache. I have it set to defrag every week so fragmentation isn't the problem.

I ran memtest and it came up with no errors.

I tried some free online rootkit detectors but none came up with any results.
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December 21, 2010 12:00:53 PM

Wow.... Not sure what else to check without actually being on your system. Your system should crush games. OC'ing the processor isn't the problem. I'd crank that back up.

Try backing off the settings on Crysis and see what happens. If the FPS goes up, thats good. But if you still get the massive drops, down to the same 5-15 level as before, then something is really messed up.
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December 21, 2010 7:00:54 PM

Ok. Well like I said, running Crysis in 32bit mode seems to fix all the stuttering issues for it. I tried lowering the settings for the other games I was having problems with. They all still stuttered just as they did with the settings maxed out.
Oh and the framerate doesn't drop to around 15, fraps just measures each stutter as a drop of about 5 - 15fps. My framerate never gets close to 15.

What else can I check? I'm about to loosen my RAM timings and see if that helps any.
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December 21, 2010 8:06:56 PM

OH, got it. Reread your post. Without going into an entire novel about frame rates, what the human eye can "see," blur, etc etc, etc... 60hz or 60 fps is the magic ticket.

Basically its like this. Most movies are shot at 18fps, but because of "blur" the movie appears to be "fluid." Most video games don't have blur. So you need higher frame rates to fill so the game doesn't appear to shutter. Some games have motion bluring, so you can have a lower frame rate but the game still appears fluid (GTA games is a great example).

Once you drop below 60, you are going to see some shutter. 5-15 fps drops aren't a big deal at all. Here's the problem. If 60 fps is your max, and you drop 15fps, even for a second, the game will appear to shutter. If 100 fps is your max, and you drop 15 fps, its really not a big deal. Probably won't notice a thing.

vsync is going to cap your fps to sync up with your monitor as said above, so you are most likely capped at 60 fps. I'd turn vsync OFF and play a game where you get a lot of FPS, see if it happens.

Dropping Crysis to 32bit allowed your PC to keep the game up at 60 fps. I bet if you went back and checked fraps, your MIN FPS wasn't below say 50.

If you want to see some serious FPS.... turn off vsync, drop some of the graphics detail down, AA down, AF down, and of course turn the resolution down. You should be over 100 fps with your system even on Crysis.

If you have CS:S, even with the settings somewhat HIGH but vsync OFF, you should be well over 100 fps all the time.
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December 21, 2010 8:08:13 PM

Oh yeah, and again, crank the CPU back up. Its obvious that OC'ing the CPU isn't the problem.
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December 22, 2010 3:16:18 AM

Ok, I just re-OC'd my CPU.

I'm not sure if I was completely clear on the issue I'm having. The stuttering or hitching (or whatever you want to call it) is a split-second pause in the game seemingly at random. It is not a consistent shuttering.

I tried out Stalker with no vsync. In some spots I would have 100+ fps easily. Even then the stuttering issue was still noticable, with fraps showing a short 15 fps drop.


Thanks for all the help so far btw. This problem is turning out to be just a bit more difficult to fix than i thought lol.
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December 22, 2010 2:00:42 PM

Is it a pause where the frame displayed hangs up OR is it like the game skips a frame?
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December 22, 2010 5:50:19 PM

Its like the frame hangs up for a fraction of a second and then the game catches back up to where it should be.
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December 22, 2010 6:34:08 PM

Boy thats really weird. I can understand if it appears to "skip" frames or run a little slower because the FPS drops (looks choppy). But were the frame actually seems to pause....

I honestly don't know what else to say at this point.
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December 22, 2010 6:50:37 PM

Yeah its a very weird problem. Its really strange because my PC used to not do this until here recently.

Thanks for all the help tho. If anyone else has any idea what the problem might be please help. If any more info is needed please ask.
I might have to take a trip to a computer repair place if I can't figure out the issue soon.
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December 27, 2010 2:09:13 AM

Hmm I think I might have found the issue. My HD has started making these weird ticking noises and it has been getting louder and more frequent. Loading files also seems to have started slowing down. Could my HD be dying? Could this be causing the weird stuttering my pc has been having?

Running SeaTools still shows no errors for some reason. My HD ticks like crazy when running the tests though.
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December 27, 2010 2:00:35 PM

Ticks....Not sure. But I would back everything up just to be sure. Computers tend to give you subtle hints before they die.
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December 27, 2010 4:20:13 PM

Give some thought to heat. I had stuttering and went on a 2-week goose chase only to realize that my southbridge chip was running hot. Even in a system with 2x150mm fans in, 2x120mm fans out plus fans on both graphics cards, the southbridge needed more. I pointed another 120 right at it and that did the trick.
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January 8, 2011 6:45:23 PM

Hey sorry i havent replied in a while. Ive been pretty busy

Anyways I'm pretty sure the problem is HD related. I did a few tests and the HD light on my mobo did light up and flicker whenever the stuttering would occur. Idk if the problem is the HD itself or not though. I'm going to buy a new 1.5tb Western Digital since I need some more space anyways. So I guess we'll find out whenever I get it.

Oh and the problem isn't heat. I got a desk fan and set it to blow straight on my pc and it didn't help any
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January 9, 2011 5:27:45 PM

a ticking/clicking hard drive isn't a good sign. wouldn't waste my time ripping data to dvd's and purchasing a new drive.
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February 23, 2011 7:45:35 PM

Hey, just wondering did buying a new hard drive fix your problem?
I've had the same exact problem for about half a year. Basically gave up on gaming because of it.
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March 3, 2011 8:42:10 PM

Hello everyone. I know I've been gone for a while and am kinda diggin my thread back out of the grave lol. Unfortunately a new hard drive did not seem to help :(  . I copied all my files directly to my new hd with HDClone and took out the old one. It's like all my problems still persist, just on the new drive. It even still makes the same ticking noise as my old one!
I'm starting to think that the problem might be the actual data or that i have a virus I dont know about or something.
If anyone could help me resolve this i would be forever grateful! You guys dont know how much of a headache this has been! :cry: 

@DjSavage - I feel your pain man. I havent used my pc for gaming in months. Feels like such a waste haha
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March 3, 2011 9:34:21 PM

Just a thought, but have you turned off the indexing service on that drive? In Windows XP, use either Windows Explorer or My Computer, right-click on the drive and then click Properties. At the bottom of the info box there is an indexing service checkbox that XP defaults to selected - unselect it to turn off indexing. I think Vista also has indexing on by default, while Win7 does not.

Also whenever I upgrade to a new video card, I make sure to uninstall the old card drivers before making the switch. You don't want old driver files sitting around in your system folders..
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March 3, 2011 11:31:33 PM

I can't read though all this again but did you try unplugging your fans one at a time ? or look for a wire that the blade might be hitting ?
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March 4, 2011 12:29:36 AM

@fazers_on_stun
Indexing is where the hd remembers where everything is for faster searching right? I believe I turned that on but I dont remember really how to turn it off. Would that help?
Also I made sure to clean out all my drivers when I first got my 470. Oh and I'm on Windows 7

@swifty_morgan
Yeah its not the fans but I think I might just be mistaking common hd access sounds as "bad" sounds.

Anyways Ive run several "free" spyware/adware scans that have come up with quite a lot of stuff so I think that might definitely be a problem. It is just hard to find a free program that actually cleans out all the problems.
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March 4, 2011 2:26:30 AM

If you're running AVG free I can understand. It's one of the crappier ones. It'll find stuff but it doesn't stop anything... LOL.... try microsofts security essentials. Free and works.

Try trend micro house calls. hey have a 32bit and 64bit. It used to be good stuff for scanning every once in a while.

malware bytes/super anti spyware/a couple of decent apps. there's good "free" ones out there you just have to look.
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March 4, 2011 2:41:32 AM

I already know that vsync is not the issue and I don't see why I would need to get a better TV (though a 1080p LED would be nice lol)

I actually have been using MSE and it seems to work for the most part. It's just when I ran Spyware Doctor it came up with over 700 problems. Most of them were cookies and stuff but yeah, not good. The thing is that the trial only lets you scan your system, then it's all like "Your pc is f'd! Give us money and we'll fix it for you!" hahaha

I'm going to try the things you suggested though
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March 4, 2011 3:30:08 AM

SW dr. sucks, the free one, just uninstall it. Run the apps I mentioned above. Start with house calls.

other guy. if you're having problems gaming with sec ess. you have other problems, not that.
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March 4, 2011 9:28:27 PM

Ok I tried all the programs you guys have said and cleaned out a TON of stuff. But the problem is still there *sigh*

Alright I'm fairly sure the problem is going to be hard drive related. Maybe RAM but I doubt it and maybe the mobo but yeah also doubt it.
As I believe I've said before, the problem only occurs when I'm moving around in the game, as this is when the hd would be accessed to load the new textures and stuff. This doesn't occur in all games so I suspect it depends on the method the game uses to stream environments. The problem should not be my GPU since the stuttering still occurs on the lowest settings and lowest resolution. Its not the CPU or monitor or anything.

Hmm I feel like its going to be something wrong with my computers data or something simple like a setting I've screwed up somewhere.

PS. I have an EVGA 470 GTX. I know it is not a problem of my pc being too weak, especially not at the resolution i play at (1360 x 768)
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March 4, 2011 10:42:50 PM

Memory doesn't seem to be running right. Is there a setting for running the memory in XMP mode ? If there is try it.
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March 8, 2011 5:40:59 PM

Yeah the problem exists no matter what settings/resolution I have it on. I also have a 750w Corsair PSU.

Could you guys please explain how to do both of those things for me?
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March 8, 2011 5:41:28 PM

Yeah the problem exists no matter what settings/resolution I have it on. I also have a 750w Corsair PSU.

Could you guys please explain how to do both of those things for me?
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March 8, 2011 8:59:54 PM

I dont see why I need to oc my processor any more or upgrade my monitor. I mean my pc has worked perfectly fine before with this exact same setup.
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March 9, 2011 3:28:14 AM

did you check to see if you can set the ram to run in xmp mode ? And did you check the monitors refresh rate. And did you go into the nvidia control panel and look for the 720p monitor setting .... if that's what you're running..... if you're forcing the monitor to run in the wrong resolution you can have problems.
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March 9, 2011 4:02:48 AM

Yeah its not the monitor. Where would i find the settings to check for an xmp mode?
Also my hard drive is running on the ide setting instead of raid or 1 other thing. I don't know if that might have anything to do with it or not.
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March 9, 2011 7:34:44 PM

55Range said:
Monitor your fps using fraps, its free, post fps from in game situations..

fraps can cause a loss of FPS by itself. You may need it for some games however crysis has a FPS tracker built in. if you hit ~ you bring up the consol then type r_displayinfo 1 . In the top right corner you will see a bunch of stuff including mem usage and FPS
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March 9, 2011 8:14:07 PM

I play every game with loads of AA and most games barely ever drop below 60 fps. The fps stays perfectly smooth except for the stuttering issue that occurs in several of my games. The game seems to stutter whenever the game is streaming new resources into the game. This is why it is 100% smooth when i dont move around ingame.
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March 10, 2011 8:08:24 PM

Could you guys explain to me how to make sure my RAM and HD are running correctly?
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March 10, 2011 8:37:45 PM

Ok I tried that but like I said before the fps can be greater than 60 and still stutter
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!